Home / Notre Dame Football / Initial Impressions – Notre Dame 14, Stanford 37

Initial Impressions – Notre Dame 14, Stanford 37

Notre Dame suffered a tough loss Saturday at the hands of Stanford.  The Irish were dominated on both lines of scrimmage and struggled to sustain much offense throughout the game.  Here are some initial thoughts on today’s game.


  • The offensive line had its roughest day of the season.  Stanford generated a pass rush all day long most ly rushing just 3 or 4 linemen.  The line is still missing assignments as evidenced by the failed fourth and 1 run when the game was still somewhat in doubt.  The line is going to be a work in progress it appears for most of the year.
  • Dayne Crist had a rough day too – his roughest as a collegiate player.  His overall stats don’t look too bad.  He was 25 of 44 for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  Crist was tentative and didn’t push the ball down the field until the game was over.  Hopefully this ends up being a learning experience for Crist and he bounces back next week, but it’s clear that he still needs some work.  He’s shown that he’s got all of the tools – just needs more experience.
  • Theo Riddick showed some more examples of why the coaching staff was so high on him this summer.  He ended up with 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.  He had a second touchdown called back because of a holding penalty in the final minute too.  Riddick has looked great when he’s gotten the ball in space – he just hasn’t gotten enough opportunities.
  • It was nice to see John Goodman get involved in the offense today.  He recorded his first five catches of the season and ended up with 59 yards.
  • The running game was a disappointment today. Armando Allen continued to run hard and he did the most with the space he was given to run.  The problem was there wasn’t much room to run when the Irish decided to run.
  • Michael Floyd topped 100 yards for the first time this season and looked like he could have had a bigger day if his number would have been called more.   Floyd continues to show that he is going to win the battle for the ball most of the time if Crist just throws it up for him down-field.  He’s not getting enough chances on such plays though.
  • TJ Jones didn’t have a big impact on the game, but he could have.  Jones broke free down the sideline on the first drive of the game for an easy score but Crist missed him badly.   Kelly needs to find more ways to get Jones the ball in space.
  • Stanford did a hell of a job taking Kyle Rudolph out of the game.  They had Rudolph blanketed and forced Notre Dame to beat them without Rudolph.  Their strategy worked.  Rudolph had just 1 catch for 1 yard all game after tearing it up the last three weeks.
  • Stanford controlled the line of scrimmage and that is why Notre Dame struggled offensively as much as they did.


  • Third down defense was very, very rough today.  Stanford converted 11 of 16 3rd downs – anytime a team allows that many 3rd down conversions they are going to have a hard time winning the game.
  • The defense held tough in the first half, but wore down as the game continued.   Stanford only had 16 points at half time but it could have been worse with how much trouble the offense had moving the football.
  • Stanford piled it on late, but through through and a half quarters they had just 19 points.  Not a great effort, but certainly good enough for this to have been a game had the offense been able to score some points.
  • Manti Te’o was an absolute beast out there today.  His final tackle total ended up at 21.  He was all over the field and single handily almost kept the Irish in the game in the second half.  Simply put, Notre Dame needs more Manti Te’os to get to where we all want them to get.
  • Notre Dame recorded the first two interceptions of the season of Andrew Luck, but they could have had at least another two.  Darrin Walls dropped an easy interception in the end zone on a third down that would have saved three points in the first half.
  • The pass rush was almost non-existent today.  Luck avoided the little pressure Notre Dame got with ease.
  • Notre Dame linebackers had a rough day in coverage.  Stanford made a living attacking the middle of the field.   Te’o is getting better in coverage and was just out of position on a few key plays.  He’ll improve in this area over time, but for now the linebackers are vulnerable to attack through the air for Notre Dame.

Special Teams

  • The return games have been a disappointment the last few weeks.  Kelly mentioned that if Wood doesn’t improve in the return game he could lose his job and he didn’t do much today to secure his position as the top kick returner.
  • Notre Dame didn’t have much of an opportunity to return punts since Stanford only punted once the entire game.
  • David Ruffer connected on both field goals today and continues to be perfect on the season kicking field goals.
  • Ben Turk had an alright game outside the botched rugby style punt that netted only 18 yards.
  • Coverage units were solid again.


  1. irisheye62,

    True Irish fans are unified in their desire to see their team excel. That means we’re not blind to the team’s fault and chose to not be critical for the sake of those like you who seem to have very thin skin. I tremble at your lack of insight and coherence.

    As for my pro team, unlike the Irish, they’ve overcome mediocrity and have won 2 titles in the last 5 years. Not too bad. When will we be able to brag about ND football winning 2 titles in 4 or 5 years? I don’t think The Stillers have to worry too much about what you think about them, irisheye. I for one am glad that losers don’t care for the Stillers. Keep your mediocrity and settling for less to yourself.

  2. Reports now claiming that Tony Alford spoke to Aaron Lynch yesterday and he is solid again and will not be taking any visits. Don’t get so uptight about RKG’s and not wanting recruits because of wavering thoughts etc etc. Remember we got TJ Floyd from Stanford and Louis Nix from Miami late in the process. These are 18 year old kids making big decisions with a lot of people trying to influence them. Aaron Lynch is a stud DE with a huge upside that would look great “on paper” next to Nix and Tuitt. I don’t care if he wavers till Feb but ends up signing with the Irish. I believe this coaching staff will work wonders with the ability to mold these kids from the start.

  3. One of the nation’s top high school football players is wavering on his commitment to Notre Dame and said he will visit Iowa.

    Aaron Lynch, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive end from Cape Coral, Fla., told NoleInsider.com that he intends to visit Iowa and Florida State. Lynch is ranked by Rivals.com as a four-star prospect and the No. 95 overall player in the class of 2011.

    Lynch committed to Notre Dame in July, but now apparently wants to explore his options. His lengthy list of scholarship offers includes Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami and Ohio State.

    “I was thinking about Iowa’s defense and how they run the 4-3 and people think I’d fit great in their defense, so I’m going to look more into them,” Lynch told NoleInsider.com.

    • ND has recieved verbals from three other DE’s as well. All good prospects. Perhaps Lynch is feeling a bit squeezed.
      I prefer the player who isn’t afraid of a little competition and goes out and earns the job over some of these four and five star guys right out of high school that think that they are entitled to a starting job as soon as they sign their LOI.
      Don’t get me wrong, I think he would be a great addition to our defense and I hope we still get him. But I also hope that if he does stay that he turns out to be the right kind of player.

      • I agree, it is funny though if you go to the irisheyes site they recently had a big two part interview (I did not read it) with his mom about his decision. The idea that this is the wrong D for him is non-sense the best defenses in the NFL are 3 – 4, he needs to take a look at another Aaron, Aaron Smith of the Steelers as an example.

      • 2 things,

        1. If he’s concerned right now with playing in a Defense that the NFL teams play in, I find that suspect. I’m not sure I want a kid who’s ego is so big right now what types of Defense is popular in the NFL factors into his decision.

        2. He should be worried about what school fits him. And to be honest, if he’s a 4-3 player, he’s a 4-3 player. Anyone remember what happens when we ask 3-4 personnel to play in a 4-3? I like to call that debacle the 2009 defense. I like to call asking 4-3 personnel to play in a 3-4 the 08 defense. see a trend? If he fits, he fits, if not he should do what’s best for him.

        But I still don’t think what’s best for him is deciding which NFL Defense he fits best in. Not right now.

      • The young man did NOT think of this when he was being recruited months ago. Is he this ignorant? I say let him go. All that time to talk it over with his family and friends and NOW he’s not sure if this is the right defense for him. In my opinion he might be a great talent but not RKG.

      • FXM,

        Watch out now. irisheye62 says that there can be no pro-football references on this site. He’s apparently this website’s new administrator. How dare you invoke the name of Aaron Smith, FXM? After all, it’s not like you’re trying to make a point of comparison. Something that seems to be beyond the grasp of irisheye62.

      • SteelFanRob–
        I’m trembling
        I’m trembling so much that you missed the point by far-
        True Irish Fans are unified

        As for TRUE commentary, I repsect TEO -this was NOT a tough loss to Stanford–it was a LOSS-teo has insight-

        Steel fan rob–hope your CORPORATE team can beat the ravens in the future-have a nice day—

  4. Looks like we are losing Lynch, that is an ouch.

    • Guess he pulled the trigger a bit early hunh? Seems he’s being told he’s better suited for a 43 defense.

      I’m not sure that I would agree with that being that he has the potential to add massive amounts of lean beef to his enormous 6’6″ frame.

      Even if he decides to leave we still have a solid d-end recruiting class. I would really like to see this kid stick around and compete for a starting job here at ND though. These types of athletes make everyone better around them too.

  5. Here’s one for ya fellas!

    Before all the boyz in the hood approach to being a sports fan when you could actually like your opponent, people actually rooted for their opponents in later games.

    For example in 1988, many of us ND students actually rooted for Michigan against the Cocaines. I saw guys almost in tears when Miami pulled that one out.

    So who do you root for in the Michigan / Michigan St. game, if you care?
    I’m rooting for the Spartans. My wife went there. They aren’t burning couches anymore, ( at least it seems that way ), and after living in Michigan for 18 years, I’ve learned to not like the Maize and Blue.

    So anyone want to comment or to ask about other Irish opponents?

    • I happend to be looking over the Bleacher report the other day and stopped to read a story about USC and their loss to Washington.
      A lot of their fans seem to be in a twist about the loss, and the poor job their defense has done. Then they go on to speculate about how the team will finish, what their final record could be, and the “sure thing” wins that remain on the schedule.
      The overwhelming concencus among their fans is that ND is a sure “W” in the win column.
      I hope it stays that way, and I hope our guys are made well aware of this fact.

    • C-Dog,

      How about a little food for thought today?
      The more I read into it, the more likely there seems to be a good chance that there will be no NFL football next year. Whether it’s a players strike or a owner lockout, both sides are making contingency plans for just such an occurance.
      That would leave the NCAA as the main source of competitive football in America next year.
      Ever hear the terms “strike while the iron is hot” or “one man’s loss is another man’s gain”?
      What better time for ND to break-out and have a great
      Maybe even a championship season.
      With our wide open schedule and national fan base, it would be a golden oppertunity at restoring glory.
      With no NFL on TV , or ESPN, no NFL for the media to write or talk about, a winning ND football program would take on added importance, and center stage.
      Positive headlines, and added exsposure could propel the program for years to follow.
      Think about it.
      Would there ever be a better time to get it done?

    • While I’m a die hard Irish fan I still have a lot of love for the Big 10. Probably due to me living here in Indiana.

      Personally, I would like to see Sparty when this game. They have been Michigan’s step-child for years. With that said… I also have to admit that I’v enjoyed watching Bernard Robinson tear up opposing teams all year.

      Either way, I’ll be watching the game!

  6. Aaron Lynch is visiting Iowa because “people are telling him he’d fit better in their 4-3 defense.” This is Chris Martin all over again, Lynch is a goner. I really hope this doesn’t start a trend.

  7. I live in Pittsburgh, no offensive line, a bunch of mediocre seniors getting their first taste of playing time. Shaky new QB ( 4 games, 650 yards, 4 TD, 2 int) who can’t get the ball to a receiver who is superior to Floyd. They lost Greg Romeus to a back injury the heart and soul of their D. So, BK’s familiarity with them combined with superior talent should prevail.

    • FXM,

      I’m glad you made these points which I agree with.
      If I’d have said the same, the headhunters out there would have tared and feathered me.
      I forgot that QB Bill Stull graduated and the job has fallen to the Soph, QB Sunseri.
      Not only have they lost, as you say, the heart of their defense in Romeus, they also lost the heart of their offense in RB Dion Lewis.
      We have lost the last two meetings.
      It sure would be nice to see Lou smile and May eat crow in this one.

    • Unlike the BC game which was really a test of the leadership getting the team mentally and emotionally ready after three weeks of heartbreak, this one will be more of a guage of where the team is skillwise. A loss is a big setback and will call back into question the true talent level, as well as development status of the players. A close win, will not be so great because Pitt is now having problems. Kelly should have the guys practicing well this week. Management of this week with the team will show in at least a similar game against Pitt as we had against BC. Hopefully a more consistent, 60 minute offense will surface. I also hope there is some attention to establishing a running game. These guys haven’t come close to Shaz’s 175 yd. bar for success. Gotta have it.

      Pitt has some good and tall receivers so our line and linebackers better get some pressure. I’d love to see a package on 3rd downs where you put Teo on the outside. Move your nickel back just inside Teo and send Teo in on the QB. I’ve always felt pressure without all out blitzes is the most effective. These guys might be ready for more zone coverage.

      I almost want to predict. But I won’t. Not jinxing the boys.

  8. p.s.

    i think it is funny(ironic maybe?) that the areas where people questioned kelly’s skills the most are proving to be areas of strength, that is recruiting and defense. i don’t care how down you are on the irish, you have to admit that the d has really come around since last year…you can’t argue with a top 5 recruiting class either.

    btw, demarco murray looks like the second coming of AP…when are we going to get some backs like that?

  9. once again, defense played great, offense left a lot on the field.

    i missed the first couple drives, but kelly is too reluctant to pound it out. 45 passes vs. 31 runs is not my idea of a ‘balanced attack.’ the fourth quarter td featured some nice runs, but we are too quick to huck the rock all over the field. when crist has a year or two under his belt this offense will be scary, but until then, run the ball!

    my expectations are probably too high, but had we played mich, mich st. or stanford that would have been another loss. still not there yet.

    calabrese is a beast! fun to watch him and teo.

    go irish!

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